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Lucy Chambers (1840–1894)

from Argus

Lucy Chambers, David Syme and Co., n.d.

Lucy Chambers, David Syme and Co., n.d.

State Library of Victoria, 49350960

It is with the utmost regret that we announce the death of Madame Lucy Chambers, which took place rather suddenly yesterday afternoon. The sad event was not entirely unexpected, as Madame Chambers had for some months previously suffered from an affection of the heart of so serious a nature as to necessitate the attendance of Mr. Fitzgerald. The symptoms of her illness first made themselves apparent after her benefit performance in the Town-hall in October last, but it was not until her Christmas holiday, which she spent in Tasmania with her sister, Mrs Gilmore, that she was really prostrated. Her vacation was indeed practically passed on a sick bed, but thanks to careful nursing she recovered sufficiently to take up her teaching work. Still her health was so impaired that she suffered from continual attacks of illness, although the energy which was so marked a feature of her disposition enabled her to rally to a surprising degree. The insidious progress of the disease was, however, fully apparent to her medical adviser, and some three weeks ago he wrote to Mrs Gilmore in Tasmania pointing out that the case was hopeless, and advising her to come to Melbourne at once. Mrs Gilmore lost no time in responding to this warning, and for the last three weeks had been visiting her sister every day. Yesterday afternoon Madame Chambers insisted upon going through her usual round of music lessons, but while at the piano was taken suddenly ill. Restoratives were applied without effect, and the unhappy lady was assisted to her bed, where she died in her sister's arms. Mr. Fitzgerald was present some 20 minutes before the fatal occurrence, and almost immediately afterwards.

The deceased lady was a sister of Mrs. Gilmore, of Crosby lodge, Launceston, widow of Captain Gilmore. Her nephew, Mr. G. C. Gilmore, is a member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. Her brother, Mr. D. D. Chambers, was widely popular as inspecting Superintendent of the Victorian police.

Madame Chambers was born in Sydney, where her father was a solicitor, and a partner of the celebrated William Charles Wentworth. At an early age she proved herself the possessor of a very fine contralto voice, and Catherine Hayes offered to take her to Europe and superintend her training. The proposal was not accepted, but a few years later Madame Chambers proceeded to England, where, under Manuel Garcia (the teacher of Madame Marchesi), she began her artistic education. In pursuit of her studies she passed under the tuition successively of Pietro Romani (teacher of Grisi, Mario Pasta, Ungher, and the old Australian favourite Lucy Escott) Cavalier Francisco Lamperti, Lauro Rossi, and Vannucini. During this time she appeared as principal contralto in almost all the leading lyric theatres in Italy, and was the first and only Australian who had sung at La Scala, Milan, until Madame Melba's recent appearance at that theatre. She also sang at Berlin, Hamburg, Spain, Portugal, and Brussels, and returned to Australia under the auspices of the late Mr. W. S. Lyster in 1870. At the termination of her engagement, she took up her residence in Melbourne as a teacher of singing, and achieved considerable success in her profession. Most of the leading Australian vocalists were trained by her, including Miss Alice Rees, Miss Amy Sherwin, and the Misses Colbourne Baber, Edith Moore, Fannie Liddiard, Ida Osborne, Violet Varley, Cicely Staunton, and Florence Young. Her last public appearance was in the Town-hall, Melbourne, on October 18 last year, when her many friends assembled in large numbers at a complimentary benefit concert organised on her behalf. The deceased lady will be long remembered, not only by her pupils, who must number many hundreds, but by a very large circle of friends both in the musical profession and in private life.

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Citation details

'Chambers, Lucy (1840–1894)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 16 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Lucy Chambers, David Syme and Co., n.d.

Lucy Chambers, David Syme and Co., n.d.

State Library of Victoria, 49350960

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Dondi, Lucy

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


8 June, 1894 (aged ~ 54)
East Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

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